Projects and Courses

Challenging Colonialism Through Archives & Digital Humanities

Margarita Vargas-Betancourt, Ph.D., University of Florida

Project Goals

  • To critically analyze the history of the University of Florida’s Latin American & Caribbean Collection (LACC) and Panama Canal Museum Collection (PCCM) as examples of hegemony and colonialism.
  • To evaluate how library specialists have challenged colonialism and highlighted underrepresented communities through exhibitions.

Outcomes & Deliverables

An exhibit about the Panama Canal Zone was developed and used categories of archival materials that documented underrepresented voices: photographs of workers, documentation of systematic segregation, photographs of agency, letters from laborers, yearbooks, and oral histories.


Margarita’s presentation

Slides from the NEH Digital Caribbean Studies 2019 institute

Exhibit: Voices from the Panama Canal

Object list and interpretive labels from the 2014 exhibit

Panama Canal Museum collection

Access digital collections and the project blog

Research poster

“Voices from the Panama Canal: Finding the Other in the Colonial Archive,” presented at the 2016 American Historical Association conference

Conference paper

“Facing Diversity: Challenges of Curating an Exhibit on the Panama Canal,” presented at the 2015 Florida Conference of Historians

LACC guide

Latin American and Caribbean Collection at UF